University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Producing Hope Through Practice. The Promise of Expansionist Pragmatism in Generating New Everyday Utopias

Davis, Paul and Wotherspoon, Douglas ORCID: (2014) Producing Hope Through Practice. The Promise of Expansionist Pragmatism in Generating New Everyday Utopias. In: Fifteenth International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society, 2-5th July 2014, Charles University, Prague. (Unpublished)

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This Paper uses pragmatist thinking to reconsider the status of utopian projects. The argument begins by noting the defensive attitudes of many utopian advocates. This defensiveness appears due to two sentiments: that many political movements remain hostile to utopias; and that the capacity of societies to generate new utopias may be declining. Focussing on the latter assertion, the argument notes that many utopias remain uncounted, so how is falling generative capacity to be gauged? It is asserted instead that the capacity of societies to generate new utopias remains undimmed. Yet, both the mechanisms through which utopian production is done, and the qualities of the utopias themselves need further deciphering if they are not to be overlooked.

This argument builds on Gardiner’s (2004) idea of everyday utopianism, reinterpreted using the network pragmatism associated with Latour (1999). Through this lens, two examples of the playing out of everyday utopias are explored. These relate to ongoing extensions of democratic representation to non-humans; and to increasingly assertive claims to moral conduct in making war through autonomising machines. Using the lessons of these examples, four qualification requirements for a network pragmatist reading of everyday utopias are generated and contrasted with conventional utopias. These qualifications relate to: grandeur, reflexivity, normalisation and extensionism. Taken together, these qualification requirements may function as a specific test for utopias to counter ubiquitous market tests and support a specifically utopian ontological politics.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: everyday utopia, ethics, network pragmatism, utopian tests, speciesism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
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Depositing User: Paul Davis
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2014 09:55
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 04:00

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